Friday, April 30, 2010

Vintage glamour

Good morning everyone! I'm so glad to be back. :-)

Today I'd like to introduce you to Giovanna Velasquez, founder of the label Magenta 8, which produces beautiful, timeless boleros and jackets. I spoke to Giovanna about herself and her designs - read all about it below!

FoL: Giovanna, tell us a bit about your Peruvian background and how Magenta 8 came to be.

GV: I was born in Lima, a fantastic city, surrounded by friends and family with amazing long summers at the beach house. Then I moved to the States and lived in Washington D.C., travelling quite extensively while there until my early teens when I went back to Peru. Although I’m very Peruvian in heart and soul, I had very little knowledge of the country, so I decided to travel through the highlands, the Amazon and the coastal areas, which are the three main regions of Peru. It’s amazing, after so many years, I still go back to these areas looking for inspiration, or sourcing new materials and ideas, and it still makes me fall in love again. 

Magenta 8 started based on my belief that women were looking for unique, classic pieces that were not lifestyle or brand oriented. Investment pieces that have a strong sense of style, value and reflected elegance – individuality and quality all at once! 

FoL: What is Magenta 8's philosophy? 

GV: Our ethos is based on three parts. Firstly, our values. We are committed to a fault in what we do. We do not compromise with quality and standards, not only with our products but also with the people we work with. The second part is the garment or product, and last but not least, is our communication with people. We say what we do and we do what we say.

FoL: Do you have a signature product? 

GV: Our signature product is our brand. We are known to have “an eye for details”, such as our linings or something within the product itself that reflects our tendency toward “small things”, which, to us, are the things that can make a real difference. Our current collection is called Hummingbird, and these gentle Peruvian birds are hand-drawn and illustrated on the satin linings. They carry a message of joy, hope and happiness.

FoL: What else does Magenta 8 offer?

GV: The additional services we offer are personal. We are great believers of building relationships with our clients, our customers, and our supporters; so we listen. They might require an additional item and/or are looking for something specific. We will take into consideration their needs and depending on the workload we will make every effort to have something made to their requirement. We have done this a few times and in all honesty it’s a fun experience, because our customer’s special requests can serve as a source of inspiration for new ideas.

FoL: What does your typical day look like?

GV: First I spend my “me time” trying to keep in shape, and then I collect my “heavenly drink” (coffee) and go to the office or to a meeting. Most of my meetings are very early in the morning depending on which stage of the year I am in. If I am in the middle of building my key pieces, then my office will be surrounded by mood boards, swatches of all the materials I have gathered, sketches, illustrations, accessories and most importantly my main mood board, with everything that reflects the woman I am building this collection for. During these times, I will have many meetings regarding the production and development of the collection.

FoL: What inspires you?

GV: The vintage era, from the 30s Hollywood starlets to the 40s with its austerity and rationing. Tailoring was magnificent and items were investment pieces. But my favourite decade was the 50s: Christian Dior, Balenciaga and Chanel. This era for me was the one that had a strong effect on women: a time of liberation and equality, especially since they contributed to managing tasks that were always given to men. Empowerment is one word that I always have in mind when designing.

FoL: How can the readers get in touch with you or buy your designs?

GV: Readers can write to us at for any queries, and if they are interested in buying any garments they can send an e-mail to and we will gladly take their request.

Thanks, Giovanna, for chatting to me! And yes, Magenta 8 ships worldwide! Have you guys seen the film An Education, by the way? It's fantastic, and I think Magenta 8's designs would fit right in there.

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